As a marketer with health care clients, I know firsthand that it’s a difficult time to be in the medical business. With all the other challenges they face, how are health care providers to focus on customer service?
The fact is that outstanding customer service in other industries, such as hospitality, retail and banking, has spoiled the consumer, and there’s no going back. Now that we’ve had a taste of good service, we’re looking for it in all of our business transactions, and we’re less tolerant of poor service.
Fortunately, it doesn’t cost extra to take basic steps toward better customer service. Things as simple as good manners can make all of the difference to patients. Here are some words of advice that anyone can adopt:
Staff your practice with “people-people.” Those who interact with patients and their families must have good people skills. As your director of first impressions, the receptionist sets the tone for the patient’s entire experience with the practice. Hire for attitude and train for skills in front office staff.
Take the time to listen. An attorney client once told me that probably half of all medical malpractice cases could be avoided if physicians would just take the time to listen to what their patients have to say. Time spent listening is much less costly than litigation.
Respect patients’ time. Patients who are kept waiting for hours are not going to be your practice’s strongest allies. When emergencies arise that cause delays, let patients know. I have a hair stylist who texts or calls if she’s running late so that I’m not sitting around waiting. Could you take similar measures in your practice?
In our increasingly connected and social world, customer satisfaction is a critical component of marketing. It behooves the savvy health care practitioner to provide it.
Laura Tobin is the Vice President of Gallinghouse Marketing + Creative. She is a 25+ year veteran of the ad industry with regional and national experience in marketing. Gallinghouse is located at 409 W. 21st Ave., Covington. For more information call 985-893-7631 or visit gallinghouse.com
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